Mitch Dumke, Dnews
PROVO — In Utah's baseball world, you could carve their faces out of one of the surrounding mountains for all to see and feel safe. They are men for all seasons and have done more than their share.
So it was only fitting BYU honored former Cougar coaches Glen Tuckett and Gary Pullins Saturday by retiring their jerseys before a home game against San Francisco.
Together, the two coached BYU baseball to 1,358 wins, 28 divisional titles and 10 conference championships over a period of 41 years. They’ve both been inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Their former players have dotted major league rosters for several decades.
They are both philosophers. You’d want Tuckett to speak at your funeral and Pullins to entertain at your backyard party.
Tuckett could go on a Dale Carnegie speaker’s circuit; Pullins, with his spontaneous singing, could draw a crowd anywhere.
But their best collective skill is the building of young men. Guys like Dane Iorg, Jack Morris, Wally Joyner and Cory Snyder are among their pupils.
Both are kind men, gentlemen from an era when it was popular to be respectful to all people, both big and small. They remember names; they quote the legends; and their love of baseball emits an actual heightened temperature you can feel when they speak of the game.
Jeff Bills grew up in Sequim, Wash., and is now president and CEO of Confidence Consulting. Bills had the unique experience of playing for Tuckett, and his sons have played for Pullins.
He is qualified to describe both men.
Bills says Tuckett’s baseball career speaks for itself, but it is his integrity that really stands out. “He will not compromise the values that define what is good and noble. No player was better than the rules and there were no gray areas when it came to right and wrong.”
Tuckett always respected relationships, none more than his wife Josephine, and if you were in his baseball family, he’d do whatever was in his power to protect, promote and empower your success, says Bills.
Over his lifetime, Tuckett has perfected the power of a simple act few even think of. It’s called the "personal note." He turns it into a brick of gold.
“He is always deflecting praise to others,” said Bills. “He writes personal notes to everyone he reads or hears about who has done something good. I am amazed at how many people have received a personal note from Glen. He recognizes others for good work. In Glen’s eyes, there is always room for more heroes.”
Tuckett is known for never being late, and he pounded that principle into his players. When his guys came out of the dugout, it was time to hustle. “You ran everywhere. Walking anywhere on the baseball field was unacceptable.”
Bills praises Tuckett for being a master teacher, a key to everything he did. He could take a concept and present it almost always with a sense of values or morals.
“When I was a freshman, my father died of lymphoma. Glen knew exactly the right way to quietly step into my life to offer support and encouragement,” said Bills.
Tuckett held a special place for people who belonged in his “inner sanctum.” If someone needed his help, he was there. “He keeps track of his former players and stays in touch with them. He cares about them in the most meaningful way. I have seen Glen fly across the country to attend the funeral of one of his former players.”
Bills has always admired Tuckett’s dedication to his wife Jo and his daughters and grandchildren.
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